In a growing city like Lexington, KY, where property costs are high and development is restricted by the urban service boundary, aspiring farmers are pushed to get creative with social capital and unconventional spaces within that boundary. In our latest episode of Breaking Beans, we hear from two farming couples that are doing just that.
The land around Lexington pulled Dani and Stefan, of Red Maude Garden, from Campagne, IL when they were scouting areas to start their farm. Enticed by other growers at the Lexington Farmers Markets encouragement and support, they moved to Lexington and began gardening in their backyard in Kennewick while they decided where to purchase land. They’ve begun direct sales to Sunrise Bakery in Lexington on “a thirty-second of an acre.”
While Reeva grew up in a farming community in Kansas and Andrew has been gardening and gleaning from fruit trees around Lexington for the past 10 years, getting involved in racial justice issues are what led them to farm together. “You can’t care about racial justice if you don’t care about food justice, and you can’t care about food justice if you don’t care about the environment. It’s all intersected and it all overlaps. It became clear that we needed to… live a less violent life,” said Reeva. They have been running North Farm for a little over two years now, and they don’t own the land they are growing on. Instead, they rely on the relationships they have formed within the community to be able to maintain their 35 farm share members and to sell to four community markets and restaurants.
Though on the outskirts of the Appalachian Region, the issues facing farmers in Lexington are ones that impact those in Appalachian communities as well. This is the first of a new wave of Breaking Beans episodes that will deeper focus on food and farm issues. For more discussion on cross-cutting issues of rural and urban communities, please tune in every month to hear Shelby Wheeler share stories of real people facing real issues.